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Friday, January 23, 2015

"I must be a Christian, not a Muslim."



It is my pleasure to once again feature another powerful blog written by my dear Iranian friend Paymaneh. I have made a few minor alterations and corrections to the original text but what remains captures the flow and style of exactly how Paymaneh wrote it.
Paymaneh is an Iranian-Christian refugee living in Malaysia. She is a gifted writer and activist. In her second blog, Paymaneh makes the case for why Iranians should be Christians instead of Muslims based on the historic tale of the three wise men that visited the baby Jesus at his birth.



Before God sent His only Son to the earth, He used my nation to prepare the way for His coming. So why should I be a Muslim?

Before God sent His "only begotten Son" to the earth, my Persian kings, Darius and Cyrus, helped Daniel the prophet change the times. It was the Persian kings who commanded people in their kingdom to respect and revere Yahweh, Daniel's God. Daniel's God not Mohammed's. Yahweh not Allah.

Persian king's names were mentioned in the Bible several times with honor and appreciation, with respect and admiration. In the Bible, not the Quran. My nation was chosen to support the Jewish people, not the Arabs!

Why must I be a Muslim and not a Christian?

Persians cooperated with the Israelites, but Arabs attacked Iran, burnt everything, killed everyone and raped women. Persians and Israelites were once friends, but Arabs became their enemies. Persians were chosen to help Daniel, not Mohammed.

Why must I be a Muslim? Why must I believe in Allah?

Before God sent His son to the earth, He chose three wise men to welcome him.

Before God took on human flesh, three men, only three men, not more, were informed of his coming. And all of them were Persian. Only Persian. Isn't it marvelous?

Why were only Persians called on His birthday and kept his birthday a secret to protect him?
Why were they informed of Jesus's birth but not Mohammed's?
Why were they chosen and guided by Yahweh and not Allah?
Must I not be faithful to Christ?

Queen Esther also had a major role in saving the lives of the Jewish people. Who did God use to help her? The King of Persia!

Why Must I be a Muslim?

In the Bible, it is prophesied several times that Christ would be born, crucified and finally resurrected...but Mohammed's book, The Quran, denies Christ was crucified and resurrected...
What kind of God prophesies important crucial events and then suddenly changes His mind?
Mohammed's God, Allah, has denied my God, my Christ...while different people in different books, hundreds of years apart, were told about his crucifixion and resurrection... How can I trust such a God, who changes his mind? A god who teaches that my Christ is only a prophet like Mohammed?

Can Mohammed be compared with Jesus?

Mohammed is dead, his body is still in the grave....My Christ is alive!  He is a life-giving spirit flowing through all of us!

I don't want to be judgmental about the Arab's wars, the way they killed people and raped women, but who can claim that Christ every hurt a single person?

Christ healed the sick, fed hungry people, displayed love and compassion and was crucified by them.
Mohammed shed other's blood for Allah, while Christ shed his blood for you and me!

Everyone witnessed the miracles of Jesus...But what was Mohammed's miracle? Riding a donkey into the sky? Who witnessed this event?

The Quran claims that Mohammed had to ask Allah to forgive his sins, (Surah 47:19) but who can accuse Jesus of committing just one sin? Jesus was
sinless....Mohammed was not.

The Bible tells the story of Mary breaking the valuable alabaster flask to anoint Jesus.
The flask broke, but I am the real precious Persian alabaster flask containing the most valuable content.

I am a Christian, not a Muslim.
I was chosen by Christ not Allah.
I am chosen and called to prepare for Christ's second coming.........


                                   About the Author....(Paymaneh Sabet)


I am an Iranian lecturer, a teacher, and a translator. But previously, I also wrote for journals. I love writing and making short films. I love to write about romance, love stories and the greatest love story between God and His people.
It is also my duty to use my gifts and talents to stand up against the dictatorship in Iran and cry out for their freedom. I want to do my best to reach them with the gospel, inspite of the barriers and limitations. I want the world to know the true Iranian...to know their true faces and the human rights atrocities they have suffered with for the past 35 years.
My biggest dream is that Iranians will know the truth and turn their hearts to Christ for true salvation, freedom, and happiness.




Tuesday, January 20, 2015

" I am a woman."



It is my pleasure to introduce to you my dear Iranian friend, Paymaneh Sabet. 
Paymaneh is an Iranian-Christian refugee currently residing in Malaysia. She is a gifted journalist and activist whose ambition is to write and speak out for her troubled country.
Paymaneh's testimony is in my book, "The Cross in the Desert."
In the following article, Paymaneh describes the painful reality of being a woman in both Iran and Malaysia......


I am guilty, not because of what I did but because of who I am, because of whom I have been created by.
I am educated. I can make money. I am a lecturer, a journalist and an actress, but none of them covers my gender. I am humiliated because I am a woman. Men look at me as a tool, as a piece of cloth, as an amusement, as a slave, as an option as a choice....
When getting married, they ask me to conform, that I will submit myself to my man for some money as the Arabs did with their servants centuries ago. And when I confirm it, everyone will clap happily for such an occasion, for such an auction.
When I sell myself, my father, mother and brothers will all be happy. 

I have no rights in my country. Men consider me as a second class citizen. It is not their fault, they were taught, they were trained like this! It is not their fault, the government considers me second class. It is not their fault, their religion, Islam, treats me as second class, giving me "rights" as much as half of my youngest brother and my newly born male cousin. No, it is not their fault, they need to treat me like this to be able to go to paradise and have fun with the female angles there!
I have no place in my country as a woman. And as a person who does not want to be a Muslim, I deserve death. Unfortunately, I don't have any rights in my own country either. I am labeled a terrorist, an anti-American, anti-civilization..anti everything good! People judge and evaluate me..putting me in the same category as my government. They look upon me like the mullahs who have occupied my country and raped my women.

I am educated, skilled and talented, but none of these things conceal who I really am. I am an Iranian, without worth and value! They don't care if I stand up against my government. They don't care if I am suffering and oppressed by my government. They don't care because I am Iranian. I have no rights to live like a human being. They don't care if I am homeless and if my government wants to execute me. They are not a woman, they are not Muslim born...

It is a tragic reality. There is no place in the world for me, neither in Iran, nor in other countries, not even here, in Islamic Malaysia. Here I am low class too, because I am a woman. Also because I'm Shi'a. The Sunni Muslims in Malaysia will not accept me!
Here the situation is even worse. I cannot tell them that I'm not a Muslim. I cannot tell them that I oppose Islam. That is a crime in Islam and I will be sentenced to death, after being raped, which will then exclude me from going to paradise.
Yes, even here in Malaysia, there is no place for me!

I do not deserve a piece of land to live on. I do not deserve freedom, human rights, and happiness because I am a criminal. I am a criminal not because of any crimes that I've committed, but simply because I m a woman, an Iranian and a Christian.
A Christian who knows the truth. A Christian who is in love with her God, her Christ, who's crucifixion is denied by the Quran. A Christian, whose biggest dream is that all of mankind is saved, who has a burden to preach the gospel, which is a crime in Islam is deserving of death!



Yes, I am a criminal. I have committed three crimes, I am a woman, I am an Iranian and a Christian. I despise Islam. It has made me homeless with no where to go, no place to live and no rights as a woman.

In my own country Iran, I have no rights because I am a woman....
In other countries, I have no rights because I'm Iranian....
In Malaysia, I have no rights because I am a Shi'a and worse than that, I'm a Christian.

There is no place for me under the Lord's heaven..even animals have a home!
 I am homeless..I am a refugee...I am nothing, nothing, nothing.....

But I am my Lord's precious daughter!!


                                         About the Author.......(Paymaneh Sabet)

I am an Iranian lecturer, a teacher, and a translator. But previously, I also wrote for journals. I love writing and making short films. I love to write about romance, love stories and the greatest love story between God and His people.
It is also my duty to use my gifts and talents to stand up against the dictatorship in Iran and cry out for their freedom. I want to do my best to reach them with the gospel, inspite of the barriers and limitations. I want the world to know the true Iranian..to know their true faces and the human rights atrocities they have suffered with for the past 35 years.
My biggest dream is that Iranians will know the truth and turn their hearts to Christ for true salvation, freedom and happiness.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

"The Rose of Marivan."



"There is a rose that was silenced, that was crushed...
  But it will grow again..the sun will shine again..."
            (The Rose of Nowruz)



There is a tiny city with a population of 92,000, tucked in between the rocky mountains, at the border of Iran/Iraq in the Kurdistan province.
 The name of the city is Marivan.
 Marivan is home to the Kurdish people, a nomadic Iranian ethnic people without a recognized homeland, scattered across the regions of Iraq, Syria and Turkey.
 The Kurdish people have suffered a very difficult life, persecuted and murdered under the bloody dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, but valiant and courageous in fighting against the barbaric terrorists of ISIS.
 After the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the Kurdish people were discriminated against by the New Regime, largely because they were Sunni Muslims, who desired an independent existence apart from the dictatorship of Khomeini.

 "Pastor Randy..teach me the Bible...


A few months ago, I received a unique friend request on Facebook from Maryam..(For security reasons, I have changed her real name) 
Maryam had a very strange request. She asked if I would be her friend and help introduce her to an Iranian Christian man. When I asked Maryam why, she explained that she was a Christian and her parents were pressuring her to get married soon, to a Muslim man of their choice. She had concealed her new found faith from her parents and desired to be faithful to God by marrying a Christian man.
Maryam's request startled me and took me by surprise. I thought to myself, "wow what can I possibly do to help her?"
However, what really impacted me was how Maryam addressed me..she called me
Pastor Randy......
Maryam's next request touched my heart beyond words..."Pastor Randy..teach me the Bible...."

The Lord had blessed me with a young 29 year-old Kurdish girl, all the way around the world, at the border of Iran and Iraq, that desperately needed my help and my prayers.
My heart melted with joy and gratitude, especially when she called me Pastor Randy.
I have always wanted to serve the Lord, asking him to use my gifts and talents, and for as long as I can remember, the number one job I have never desired, was that of a Pastor. The responsibility and hard work of being a faithful pastor has always terrified me.. I remember pleading with God saying.."Please don't call me to be a pastor..."
But...God has a marvelous way of showing us, His plans for our lives and like Jonah..we run!!!

"Please pray for me..I want a Christian family...."


The internet is very weak and slow where Maryam lives and to add to that difficulty, her English is very poor.
 However, despite her weakness, Maryam astonished me one day during our texting. Suddenly she typed the words to a song I had written in my book, "The Rose of Nowruz: dreams of hope and freedom.."
"The sun is gonna shine again..The rose is gonna live again..."
I was touched beyond words! A few weeks earlier, I had sent her my book and now my dear friend was sharing a song from it that had impacted her life. In our texting back and forth, Maryam struggled to spell English words correctly and yet, here she was perfectly texting back to me the words to a song in my book!
I was overwhelmed with joy that God had so powerfully used my book to give Maryam hope. When I asked what I could pray for her about, Maryam quickly responded by saying, "when you talk to God, please ask him to give me a Christian family.."

I am awestruck by Maryam's faithfulness to honor God by wanting to marry a Christian man. She is an a very difficult situation, hiding her Christian faith from her parents, and struggling to have hope that God will intervene in her life.
In my book, the rose is a symbol of hope. When I think of Maryam, I think about a young Kurdish girl who desires a new life of freedom and happiness where she can publicly proclaim Jesus without fear.
I intend to be faithful to God and be a "pastor" to Maryam. I will teach her God's Word and pray for her every day. Maryam truly is, "The Rose of Marivan" a light of hope in a Kurdish city at the border of Iran and Iraq!


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

"Man's best friend banned in Iran!"



"Prayer is annulled by a dog, a monkey and a woman, 
 (if they pass in front of the praying people.")
               Bukhari Vol. 1, #490
               The Hadith





One of the greatest thrills for my dear Iranian friends when I meet them on Skype, is seeing my dog Jezzie. Jezzie is a 58 lb, tan and white, playful and energetic, border collie dog.  Their eyes light up whenever the camera shows Jezzie, getting out of her cage. They love to watch me toss a treat to Jezzie and then they burst into laughter when she skillfully catches it in her mouth.
The age old cliche' is true that a dog is, "man's best friend!'
 However, that cliche is sadly not true in Iran.
Recently 32 members of the Parliament have proposed legislation that would make it a crime for owning and or walking a dog publicly in Iran. The pending legislation would penalize the dog owner with the threat of arrest, 74 lashes and a fine equivalent to $3,700 in American money.
This really doesn't shock me! It disgusts me, but I'm really not shocked. Look at the way they treat human beings! Iranian women are oppressed by the Hijab law and can also be arrested, lashed and fined for showing too much hair or skin. Just recently women living in Isfahan had their faces disfigured by acid attacks for not wearing a proper hijab!
So I'm really not shocked by the way they also treat dogs.
I remember not long ago, my dear Iranian friend Zainab sent me a picture of her cute little puppy dog. She was so proud of having her first dog and was actually enjoying life, until her next door neighbor complained and shortly after that, she was forced to get rid of her beautiful furry friend.

"So what on earth could possibly be wrong with owning a dog?"


First of all, The Iranian regime considers that owning a dog symbolizes rebellion against the government. Owning a dog is becoming "too Westernized," it's participating in the deadly culture war with the West!
According to Islam and Sharia Law, dogs are considered unclean. The only exception to this law is if you are a farmer or police officer that requires the use of a dog for your vocation. Otherwise owning a dog symbolizes resistance to the government. Dogs are viewed as damaging the health and tranquility of people.

Although The Quran does not specifically forbid the ownership of a dog, the teachings of the Hadith explicitly forbid it. Muslims are warned that dogs annul their prayers, forfeit their rewards and keep angels from visiting them.
Bukhari Vol.1, #490 says, "The things which annul prayers were mentioned before me. They said, "Prayer is annulled by a dog, a donkey and a woman (if they pass in front of the praying people.")

Muslim Number 2815, Allah's messenger said, "He who keeps a dog other than

that meant for watching the herd or hunting, loses every day out of his deeds equal to two qirat."

Bukhari Vol.4, #448,  "I heard Allah's Apostle saying, "Angels of mercy do not enter a house wherein there is a dog or a picture of a living creature."


Muhammad had a deep problem with dogs. He believed that money made from the sale of a dog was considered as evil as the money acquired from the practice of prostitution, witchcraft or usury.
One of my favorite cartoon characters I watched as a child was Charlie Brown. He had a wonderful cute, little dog named Snoopy which was everyone's favorite pet. We all would chuckle whenever snoopy was banned from going to the beach or library. Snoopy would get a sad and depressed look on his face from staring at the "No Dogs Allowed," sign in front of his face.
However, In Iran, "No dogs allowed," is far from from a laughing matter and certainly nothing to chuckle about. It's a crime!

If there is any silver lining to my depressing story, its the fact that my Iranian friends can still smile and have fun whenever they see Jezzie on Skype. That is the closest they can get to my "furry" kid without being lashed and fined!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Final Word



"Perhaps someone in this world would hear my cries
 and feel my pain...."
                       -Reyhaneh Jabbari-




"Khoda! Khoda!" ( Farsi for God! God!) Reyhaneh! Reyhaneh!"
 For as long as I live, I will never forget the agonizing and gut-wrenching cries of Shole Pakravan, as she received the painful news of her daughter's execution.
 I was quietly praying for Reyhaneh inside of the chapel at work during my break time.
It was 9 pm on a Friday evening in St. Louis, Missouri and approximately 6:30 am in Tehran, Iran. Dawn had just broken over Evin Prison and despite International outcry and a petition containing over 200,000 signatures, The Iranian killing machine hanged 26 year-old Reyhaneh Jabbari, an innocent martyr, for the crime of "self defense!"
No doubt, the final words of her daughter, were racing through Shole's mind at that agonizing moment,  "I love you..I wish I could have hugged you until I died...."
I had been in the middle of praying when I discovered this haunting video on my cell phone. I stopped for just a minute and I as I watched dear Shole in her agony, I wept and pleaded with God for His mercy.
I remembered the words of Reyhaneh, in one of her letters from prison, in which she cried out for someone to listen to her and be her voice

"Perhaps someone in this world would hear my cries and feel my pain..."

At that unforgettable moment in the prayer chapel at work, I truly connected with both Reyhaneh and Shole......I felt their pain..I was gripped by their suffering and agony...Indeed, I heard their cries and it is a moment that I will never forget for the rest of my life.

The day that this brutal and unforgiving regime hanged Reyhaneh and thrust a "sword of injustice" through her mother's heart, was only 11 days until her 27th birthday! For seven agonizing years Reyhaneh had suffered in prison for the stabbing death of Morteza Sarbandi, a former Iranian intelligence agent, who had lured her into his apartment to do some interior designing work and then tried to rape her.
From the age of 19 until her unjust death at the young age of 26, Reyhaneh had never experienced a normal adult life. "The world allowed me to live for 19 years.." Reyhaneh writes in her prison letter (Part 1)...I want them to know what happened to me at the age of 19 that has made me no longer fear death...."

For Reyhaneh, her life had stopped....her life had ended at 19..when she was thrust into the grave of Evin Prison. Yet inspite of her suffering, Reyhaneh cried out to the world through her prison letters which became her "voice" to anyone who would listen to her cause, her side of the story of what really happened.

      "With a hanging rope in front of my eyes..I want to tell you everything that I said in court..everything that I screamed  while I was brutally kicked by four forceful interrogators, who regarded themselves as almighty..perhaps someone in this world would hear my cries and feel my pain...."

For more than six months, I heard the cries and felt the pain of Reyhaneh. My Facebook page was filled with petitions and stories about her plight. I wrote a blog about her entitiled, "The crime of self defense," and pleaded with my listeners on my radio program to be a voice for Reyhaneh, save her life and sign the petition for her freedom. 
For one month before her execution, I paused from work at break time and went to the chapel and prayed for her. I was confident that God heard the cries of the oppressed and suffering and would deliver Reyhaneh.
It was only an hour after watching that agonizing video in the chapel that I received the tragic news on my cell phone that Reyhaneh had been executed. I paused from my work at the hospital and found a quiet place and went to my Facebook page. With tears streaming down my face, I wrote the following post to my followers:

"With sadness and brokenness, I have to report that our dear Reyhaneh was executed just a few minutes ago....I am truly broken and yet there is a part of me that is rejoicing because now Reyhaneh is finally safe at home in the arms of Jesus....Death no longer has power over her...The Iranian Regime has lost..they can no longer hurt her...
Jesus had the final word!
Reyhaneh we love you and we will miss you, but one day soon we will see you again at the great banquet table in heaven..This is a promise.

Jesus had the final word, not the cruel and barbaric Iranian Regime!  During his suffering for his Christian faith on the Island of Patmos, John had an incredible vision of Jesus that encouraged him in the midst of his dark trial. John fell down in worship as Jesus laid his right hand upon him:

"Fear not, I am the First and the Last and the living one. I died and behold I am alive forevermore and I have the keys of death and hades!"
                                         (Revelation 1:17-18)

This is a powerful and comforting claim from the one who conquered death, hell and the grave! Jesus is the sovereign Lord over life and death. He has the final word, which means that at our moment of death, we are safe and secure in his arms of love.
As I pondered this Scripture, I was comforted by the fact that Reyhaneh was finally free from the grave of her prison and had been ushered into the arms of a loving Savior.....
Jesus holds the keys of death and hades! He had the final word! The many cruel years of torture and injustice had finally came to an end for our dear Reyhaneh. There was a few moments of frustration and sadness for me that God had not spared her life and yet I realized that he had indeed delivered her and answered my prayers. It was just ten days until her birthday! For the past six years, Rehayneh had spent her birthday behind the bars of a dark and cruel prison. However this year on her 27th birthday, she would finally be free! 

On November 5, the world will pause and remember Reyhaneh by lighting a candle in her honor..I too will light a candle...


"Happy Birthday dear Reyhaneh..We will never forget your suffering and injustice..we will remember your bravery, beauty, patience and your hope for justice!



   



Thursday, October 9, 2014

Breaking the Silence


"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves....."
                      (Proverbs 31:8)




Sabah was only 12 years old when she heard about the first honor killing. A young Muslim girl had became pregnant and when her family found out, they were outraged. Her selfish act had brought shame to the family and the community. In retaliation, the mother tied her hands behind her back and sat on her chest, while her brother strangled her to death!
After reading this horrifying account, Sabah was shocked, "What is going on? This is not Islam! My religion is a religion of peace!"
 A few years later in 2004, Sabah was exposed to another honor killing, only this one hit way too close to home. She learned that the elder brother of one of her good friends had been murdered.
 Unable to keep silent, Sabah stopped researching and began speaking out!
I first met Sabah on Twitter and since then we have become good friends. I invited her to be a guest on my radio program, "The Cross in the Desert." when I learned she was doing a screening of the powerful documentary film "Honor Diaries."
Sabah is a British Muslim with a Pakistani background. Several years ago she came to the United States and is currently a student at a University studying Biology.
Yet Sabah is much more than just a student pursuing a degree at a University. She is a very open-minded, outspoken and courageous Muslim woman who is unafraid to "break the silence."
 When Sabah discovered other Muslim women were speaking out against honor killings and injustices committed against women in the "Honor Diaries," film, she realized that she had an obligation, a duty, to bring awareness to her own community.
While most non-Muslim students were shocked by the film, The Muslim community was not, instead they were outraged and offended. Sabah was called a "devil, an infidel" and was warned that showing this film could even cost her, her life!
Sabah confessed to me on my radio program that her emotions have been like a pendulum swing, "Did I do the right thing? Should I really be doing this?" The criticism and death threats have resulted in a great emotional toll on Sabah. At times she has felt lonely and depressed and wondered if she should continue. Yet despite the difficult challenges, Sabah has vowed to continue:

"I must speak up when I see injustices! I can't save the world, but maybe I can be like a ripple in the ocean. I will tell one person and they in turn will tell someone else...


Bringing awareness and education is the passion of Sabah's life. She is committed to making a difference in the lives of abused women in Muslim majority countries. Yet the challenges she faces is not limited to just the Muslim community. Sabah faces great challenges from her immediate family. While her father doesn't know about her activism, her mother does and is worried about her safety. In addition to that stress, Sabah had to hide her screening activities from her brother, since he goes to the same university that she does! 

During our interview, I asked Sabah how she felt about ISIS and she immediately denounced them as "monsters" and not Muslims.

"I wish the ground would swallow up these monsters and take them down to the lowest hell!"


One of the biggest challenges that Sabah faces is the ongoing stereotypes about Muslims that is largely created by the media. She hates the stereotype that "All Muslims are terrorists" and is saddened by the suggestion that her religion is guilty of oppressing women!


"True Muslims would not oppress women. They cannot do that because our Prophet Muhammad taught that we should treat women and children like petals of a flower...."


I have nothing but admiration and respect for Sabah. She is one of the most courageous Muslim women that I have ever met! Despite the numerous threats and the fear of her brother finding out, Sabah courageously continues her battle for the rights of abused Muslim women. For Sabah, "real Islam" is a peaceful religion. "There is no compulsion in religion, "Sabah proclaims, quoting from the Quran.

At the risk of her life, Sabah will continue to speak out and be that "ripple" in the ocean bringing education and awareness to everyone who is willing to listen. What Sabah is doing is taught by the Bible. To her Muslim community, she is bringing fear and shame, but to the God of the Bible, she is bringing honor and glory through her activism.
Proverbs 31:9 instructs us to, "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. Ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless and see that they get justice!"
My prayer is that there will be more "Sabah's" who will speak up and not be silenced by fear. Sabah has broken the silence and as a result many lives will be saved by her courage and commitment!



Saturday, August 23, 2014

" I Stand with Israel."



"I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt.
 All the families on the earth will be blessed through you."
                         (Genesis 12:3)




One of the most remarkable privileges God has blessed me with on Facebook is linking me with dear friends! For the past three years, God has given me wonderful friendships with Iranians. I have had the privilege to be their voice on my blog and share stories of their struggles for freedom. We have laughed together, cried together and even prayed together. My friendships with Iranians are the most precious friendships to me in the world.
However recently, the violent conflict between Hamas and Israel has put a real strain on our friendships. Even though my Iranian friends despise and hate their government, the many years of propaganda by the Regime has left a lasting impression on their thinking. They see Israel as an aggressive entity and view them as the enemy of the Middle East. Therefore when they see that I'm standing with Israel on my Facebook page, they are outraged and want to know why I am siding with a nation that commits terrorist acts!
With gentleness and respect, I pointed out to my Iranian friends that Hamas is using the Palestinians as human shields and that Israel is not purposely targeting innocent civilians. Yet in all of my persuasion, my Iranian friends still don't understand that the media is manipulating the violence in the Gaza Strip and using it to deceive the world. However, in the midst of my frustration and despair, God once again has blessed me with a wonderful friendship that is making a difference in my difficult situation!
To this day, I still can't remember exactly how I met Shaily, but I am so grateful that I did.
I saw her name linked to a comment on a post and I noticed she was from Jerusalem, so I decided to friend request her. Within a few days Shaily responded to my friend request and immediately cautioned me by saying, " I am Israeli IDF," meaning she was a member of Israeli Defense Forces."
"That's not a problem, " I enthusiastically replied, "I am a big supporter of Israel!"
 Without hesitation she accepted my friend request.
 Shaily Azulay is my first Jewish friend on Facebook and her friendship came at a crucial time.
 When you come to Shaily's page, you are immediately educated. She has postings and videos responding to the cruel and hateful anti-semitism that is alive in the world!

Her timeline picture is a postcard drawing of missiles and homes with the caption declaring that, "Israel uses weapons to protect its civilians, Hamas uses civilians to protect its weapons!"
Further down the page is a video Shaily produced showing the hateful and violent threats made by Hamas and how Israel is fighting courageously to protect their homeland!
As I scrolled further down her page, I arrived at a video posting that touched my heart!
It was a video produced two years ago featuring young Jewish citizens from all walks of life, holding up posters colored in green and red, declaring, "Iranians, we will never bomb your country, We love you."
 The short two minute video pleads with Iranians and reassures them that, "We don't hate you, We love you, we want to meet you someday..."
I watched this video with tears in my eyes and I realized what a "God send," Shaily was! Here was a video from the hearts of the Jewish people saying to Iranians, "We love you."
WOW! A message of peace and love, rather than hatred and hostility. A message that could heal the deep wounds and scars and break down the many barriers created from years of propaganda.
Shaily has created a beautiful Facebook page, a page that both educates and reassures Iranians that Israel does not hate them! With all of the misinformation and anti-semitism created by the media, Shaily has responded with a message of peace that shows the true heart of the Jewish people. Israel is a beautiful and historical nation that is fighting for its survival against hostile terrorists. They are the last hope for freedom and democracy in the middle east!
I immediately knew that I had to share this beautiful video with my Iranian friends. Like me, Shaily has a heart for the Iranian people. She has a heart for peace and understanding and in a climate of hatred, she responds with a message of love.
I have posted her video on my page with the sincere prayer that my Iranian friends will see the true heart of the Jewish people.
I also have had the privilege of sharing the books that I wrote about the Holocaust with Shaily, "The Promise and Beauty from the ashes,"
Please join me in standing with Israel at this critical time in her history. God has promised to bless those who stand with her, but also warns against those who show contempt for His chosen people.

    "I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt!"